GUWAHATI, Oct 26 � Holding the State Government responsible for the abnormally high number of road accidents resulting in thousands of fatalities every year, public activist Prof Deven Dutta today said that a fairly large percentage of the killer road mishaps stemmed from the utter chaos and lawlessness prevailing on the roads with the authorities looking the other way.
Referring to the fatal road mishap at Koliabor in the wee hours today in which nine persons were killed and many injured, Prof Dutta said that it was shocking that the State Government � the Transport and police authorities in particular � should be so negligent in enforcing the norms that could have gone a long way in minimizing the unprecedented spurt in accidents.
�Provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act-1988 are being flouted openly and no intervention is coming from the authorities concerned. The Transport Minister and the Home Minister in particular owe a lot of explanation to the people for this sickening state of affairs, with some 3,000 people dying in road mishaps every year.�
Prof Dutta questioned why the Chief Minister, who has also been holding the Transport portfolio should be in New Delhi for days together for effecting a reshuffle in his cabinet. �He need not be in Delhi for this, as he can effect a change in his Cabinet on his own under the Constitution of India,� he added.
Prof Dutta also urged the media to pursue certain matters in connection with road accidents. �It is mandatory under the MVA for commercial vehicles to display the names and addresses of their owners prominently on the bodies of the vehicles. But it is never done. We get to see the names of drivers and conductors in newspaper reports following accidents but not the names of the vehicle owners who are also responsible under the law,� he said.
Questioning the silence of the so-called mass organizations, especially �student organizations led by middle-aged leaders� on the issue of road accidents, Prof Dutta said that the reason behind their perpetual silence stemmed from the fact that many such leaders owned commercial vehicles in large numbers.
Prof Dutta further criticised the �appeal for help� made by State BJP leader and Central Minister Sarbananda Sonowal following the Koliabor road accident. �Who Sonowal is appealing to and for what? He himself is a Central Minister and had been a student leader for years. Never before all these years did he choose to utter even a single word on the shocking trend of road accidents in the State. Could the sudden �appeal� be due to the fact that Lakhimpur happens to be his constituency?� he said.